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From .38 hectares of biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and long-lasting of the stable of red Corton lieux-dits at Chandon de Briailles. Plummy black fruit, animale funk, wood smoke, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the racy fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From 1.12 hectares spread across four parcels situated mid-slope above Les Maréchaudes with vines averaging 35 years. Deep limestone clay soils give classic Corton density and structure to the wines from the climat. The 2017 has a dark ruby robe and fine aromas of violets, wild strawberry, and raspberry with bosky notes of underbrush and freshly-turned earth and a bit of the classic Corton spice. The dense but expressive palate offers a mélange of ripe forest fruits, sour cherry, wild blackberry, blood orange peel, mustard seed and forest floor on a deeply mineral and coiled mid-palate with pungent soil notes driving a long, tangy, vibrant finish with a bit of the peacock's tail. Though young, this is displaying nascent complexity and bodes well for long aging. When the elements knit, this should be sensational and drink beautifully for the better part of two decades. John McIlwain *Pre-arrival, wine arrives 5/28*
From a .4 hectare plot, located beneath Corton Bressandes. Ferruginous clay over limestone. Les Maréchaudes was planted between 1974 and 1979 and plowed by horse. Typically the most precocious of the red Corton grand crus at Chandon de Brialles, Les Maréchaudes can be enjoyed after just a few years in bottle, though it will improve over 12-15 years and beyond. The 2017 has a lovely nose offering aromas of crushed strawberry, red plum, black currant, and game. The palate shows a sweet ripeness and expressiveness with pretty flavors of stone fruit, wild raspberry, mustard seed, underlain with a tactile sense of earthiness and Corton spice. The supple fine-grained tannins lend a sense of gravitas and well-integrated acidity offers lift and brightness to the long, lingering finish. A buoyant and vibrant Maréchaudes! John McIlwain *Pre-arrival, wines arrive 5/28*
3.13 hectares of vines dating from 1938, with an average age of 40 years, in limestone clay soils, well exposed to the east. Île des Vergelesses is considered the finest climat in Pernand-Vergelesses, producing elegant wines that age effortlessly for 20+ years, as a recent tasting of the 1990, 1999, and 2002 vintages showed. The 2017 has a dark ruby robe with an exuberant nose offering bright floral and red and black fruit aromas. The deep-pitched palate offers a fine array of juicy red berry and black cherry flavors with notes of crushed herbs and soil notes framed by ripe, fine-grained tannins and brisk acidity, and a bit of the peacock's tail on the vibrant, layered, expansive finish. Decant now or cellar for 7-10 years and beyond to allow the fruit and structural elements to integrate. John McIlwain
From 50-year-old vines located mid-slope. 50% whole cluster. The shallow soils overlay flat limestone rocks, giving way to clay subsoils. The 2017 has a deep ruby robe. The nose is redolent of violets, hedge fruits and spice. The mid-weight palate shows good ripeness and punch with juicy blackberry and cassis flavors and sauvage notes with a pungently mineral—verging on salty—core, finishing with a burst of spice on the long, detailed, lip-smacking finish. This is earthy, though by no means rustic and shows great flair. There is sneaky structure and while this is delicious now, this will benefit from 5-8 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
This Pinot Noir rosé is a blend of the saignée from villages and 1er cru fruit in Maranges, a straight pressing of Hautes Côtes de Beaune fruit, and pellicular maceration of fruit from Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Pale pink, effusive on the nose with aromas of cherry blossom (of course), wild strawberry, cherry, and chalk. Palate is ripe, racy and juicy. Ripe stone fruit and savory herbal notes lend interest. Lip-smacking finish. This is nearly incandescent with bright fruit and crackling energy. A fabulous rosé for an aperitif or with dinner. John McIlwain
In the decidedly difficult 2016 Comte Armand's Clos des Epeneaux is a lovely wine in the making, though with a more lifted and energetic character, rather than a stern one. The nose offers aromas of black and red cherries, with cool herbal aromas and hints of oak and spice. The midweight palate is supple, rather than sinewy with loads of black and red fruits, savory earth notes and a cool, yet pungent sense of minerality on a deceptively long finish. John McIlwain
From 1.35 hectares of organically-farmed vines. The 2015 vintage is 50% whole cluster fermentation aged in 30% new barrels. Pèzerolles is always one of the silkier and suppler expressions of Pommard, with a fine core of stoniness within. In 2015 De Montille has released a beautiful example. The nose is exuberantly perfumed with intriguing aromas of violets, tea roses, and crunchy red berry fruit. The palate is bright and suffused with ripe red and black fruit flavors, notes of black tea, and spices with a discreet framing of some new oak. The vibrant fruit seems to dance over a deeply mineral core that integrates with time in the glass and culminates in a long, succulent, fresh finish. There's none of the roasted character of some of the 2015s, and this is deeply satisfying in its poise, energy, and balance. Bravo! John McIlwain
From 1.35 hectares of organically-farmed vines. The 2016 vintage is 33% whole cluster fermentation aged in 30% new barrels. Pèzerolles is always one of the silkier and suppler expressions of Pommard (due to the limestone soils) with a fine core of stoniness within. In 2016 de Montille has released a beautiful example with a bright, high-toned nose with pretty aromas of wild strawberries, cherry, wet stone, and brown spice. The palate is lithe, racy, and mineral with pure red fruit and stone fruit flavors underlain by a savory, stony core and zesty acidity on a long, expressive, mouthwatering finish. This will benefit from a few years in the cellar and drink beautifully for a decade beyond. John McIlwain
If ever there was an argument for the elevation of Pommard 1er cru Rugiens to grand cru status, de Montille's Rugiens-Bas certainly makes a convincing case. The 2016 is 40% whole cluster with aging in 1/3 new oak. The robe is a dark ruby, nearing purple. Aromatically, this offers a kaleidoscopic array of dark flowers, black fruits, and deeply earthy scents with more seemingly in reserve. The palate is intensely flavored with plummy fruit, good mid-palate density, firm tannins and a firm core on ferrous minerality on a concentrated, long finish. This is offering good nascent complexity, though the impression is of a Rugiens that is coiled and will need time to reveal its potential. Given the better part of a decade in the cellar, this should be sensational as the magnificent fruit integrates with the significant structure and drink beautifully for another 10-15 years and beyond. John McIlwain
40% whole cluster, from parcels in Grands and Petits Epenots. The 2016 Les Epenots from organic Domaine Parent has a dark ruby robe. The nose is a touch reticent on opening; with air, lovely black fruit and soil aromas emerge with plum, iron, and crushed herbs giving way to game notes. The palate is densely concentrated with flavors of black cherry, plum skin, black tea, and spice over a vibrant and deeply-pitched mineral core, framed by ripe tannins and leading to an admirably long, detailed finish. This has great purity and energy and should age effortlessly. A beautiful Epenots! John McIlwain
Ripe, perfumed, and dark-fruited on the nose with a mélange of floral and spice notes and a discreet touch of oak, the 2016 Clos des Cortons has a sensational sense of brightness and complexity. The palate offers a dramatic combination of pure fruit, supple tannins, and vigorous minerality on a layered, harmonious, classy finish. This is lovely and should age effortlessly. Beautiful Corton, indeed. John McIlwain
"the 2016 Auxey Villages is a fine bottle in the making offering up a black fruited nose of cassis, black cherries, woodsmoke, a touch of expresso and a fine base of soil tones. On the palate the wine is round, full-bodied and quite suave on the attack, with a good core, modest tannins and fine length and grip on the complex and classy finish. This will want just a few years in the cellar to blossom, and will drink well from early on in its evolution, but will also age nicely." John Gilman The View from the Cellar
From 48-year-old biodynamically-farmed vines from the lieu-dit Les Pétures. The grapes are destemmed and fermented with native yeasts. The 2016 has a dark ruby robe. A mélange of red and black fruits, sous-bois, and freshly-turned earth on the nose with a faint hint of spice. The mid-weight and supple palate offers sour cherry, pomegranate, and game flavors, underlain with a deeply mineral core and a long mouthwatering, moderately tannic, expansive finish. This is beautiful Santenots and should age effortlessly as the elements integrate. Every year this is one of my favorite Santenots and a sure bet for cellaring. John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils*, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. The soil is warm and well-drained giving ripe, structured wines. There is a 21-day cuvaison with manual cap-punching followed by 18 months in old barrels.Even with the minimal extraction practiced at the estate, the 2017 Bressandes shows a dense red/black color and aromas of black cherry and ripe strawberry, quite deep with sous-bois, violet, graphite and citrus. The palate is dense and chalky with blackberry, earth, cocoa and minerals with terrific length of red currant, earth and juicy acidity. This is a beautiful wine that will give great pleasure in its youth - it's a bit softer than the 2016 - and should be a superb mature wine as well, perhaps until 2035 and beyond. David Lillie *("A formation rare in Burgundy 'la grèze lithée.' An ancient limestone cliff dominated the slope in the distant past, which eroded leaving debris of small pepples which covered the slope at this spot from top to bottom - leaving a steep slope facing east with a soil rich in pepples, deep, warm and dry, where the vines roots penetrate deeply."
Jean-Claude says this wine, sourced from lieux-dits Beaux Fougets (clay soils) and Bons Feuvres (iron-rich soils) on the Pommard side of Beaune, always shows aromas of "cerises noires" (black cherries). The 2018 has a dark ruby, verging on purple robe. The ripe, lush nose offers plummy dark fruit aromas with notes of violet, cassis, and spice box. The palate also tends towards black fruits (there's that black cherry!), savory herbal notes, and a brooding earthiness beneath the ripe, exuberant fruit. There’s a lot to sort out here, but this has nice flair and concentration - give this a bit of aeration and it will be a very satisfying bottle with coq au vin or perhaps braised duck legs. John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau's domain has been Biodynamic since 1979 and produces lovely light-bodied, old fashioned Burgundies. The 2018 Beaune Les Prévoles (a lieu-dit below 1er Cru Chouacheux and les Tuvilains) was vinified with the stems, bringing just the right structure to this lush and beautiful wine which shows beautiful ripe aromas of cherry and black raspberry with rose, earth, citrus and brown spice. The palate is chalky and sapid, showing the ripeness of the 2018s, with lush berry fruits enveloping firm acidity and mineral flavors. Really a lovely wine and quite delicous now, full and ripe enough for grilled meats, as well as chicken and pork dishes and cheeses such as morbier, tomme de savoie. This should benefit from a bit of aging but is quite beautiful as a young wine, drink until 2035. David Lillie
Ruby on its way to garner robe. Bruised strawberry, grilled game, turned earth, dried roses on the nose. Mid-weight palate offers flavors of plum skin, orange skin, mustard seed and loamy earth. Good concentration and a fine mineral core. Very good, though—dare I say—might need a couple years still. Lovely Teurons and a perfect mix of earth and fruit. John McIlwain
Passetoutgrain rosé? Not something we see everyday. And this one is a cracker. Racy minerality, bright acidity, and vivid fruit. The nose combines fresh raspberry, sour cherry, and crushed herbs, while the medium-bodied palate features lush, savory minerality, and a lively spicy finish. Broad enough to enjoy with pan-roasted salmon or chicken paillard, with wild mushrooms, or aged goats cheeses. John McIlwain
From .61 hectares of vines planted in 1932, 1950, and 1978. The vines are toward the top of the parcel in thin limestone soils. The 2016 Fremiets from Joseph Voillot has a bright ruby robe. The nose is delicate and floral with aromas of red fruits (wild strawberry, red currant, morello cherry), wild roses, rose hips, and exotic spices. The palate is silken, and supple, with red hedge fruit and wild strawberry flavors, and a fine stoniness beneath the dry extract. There’s a fine bright energy here, with a discreet structure framing the charming, succulent fruit. The finish has sneaky length and articulate mineral detail. This is a Fremiets of finesse rather than power, but compelling nonetheless. Delicious now, though perhaps better in 5-8 years and beyond. John McIlwain
From two plots planted in 1977 and 1986 in limestone clay soils. 100% destemmed and aged in used barrels. Domaine Bachelet is one of the greatest growers in Burgundy and this Bourgogne shows all the breed and class of a Gevrey villages. Highly recommended.
From 60-70-year-old vines spread across multiple lieux-dits. 100% destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, 20% new oak. Perhaps the most elegant and knit of the Gevrey-Villages. This is at least premier cru quality every vintage and ages effortlessly into deeply satisfying wine. Truly benchmark for the village and a smart choice for cellaring every year. John Mcilwain
From 32-year-old vines on shallow stony soils. Champeaux is one of the brightest and most vibrant of the Gervrey 1ers. Burguet's is easily one of my favorites. Bright red fruits and violets dominate the nose, the palate is cool, refined, and has great concentration, exhibiting a finely mineral finish. (Verging on cerebral were it not for the prettiness of the fruit.) John McIlwain
Nestled in between Richebourg and Romanée-Saint-Vivant and Echezeaux, Les Suchots is a premier cru break in the line of grands cru that runs from La Tache to Mazis-Chambertin, this is likely due to the small dip in the hillside that makes the climat cooler. But what a premier cru! The 2016 from Chantal Lescure is begulingly perfumed with aromas of tea roses, exotic spice, wild cherry, and a cool herbal topnote. The palate is lithe and racy with lovely flavors of red fruits and a game, with more of that Vosne spice and a fine grained structure that balances the lush fruit with bright acidity and framing tannins. This is delicious with a quick decanting, but should really shine with a few years in bottle. Gorgeous Beaux-Monts and attractively priced (relative to its neighbors). John McIlwain
From a .41 hectare parcel planted in 1940 and 1984. Les Vaucrains is situated upslope of the premier crus Les St. Georges and Les Cailles in the middle portion of Nuits St. Georges. The soils are a blend of brown clay, limestone, sand, and rock producing vigorous, powerful, and elegant wines of great ageablity. Vigneron Christoph Drag says of the climat, “the fat clays make it hard to work the earth.” Domaine Chauvenet’s 2014 Vaucrains has a darker robe than Les Perrières. The nose is effusive, offering a kaleidoscopic mélange of black fruit aromas, cassis, brown spices, game and iron; over time notes of crushed blackberry, grilled meat, and wet stone emerge. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied and supple, offering flavors of ripe blackberry, Italian plum, iodine, game, and wood smoke on a long, layered, and mouth-watering finish. There is plenty of power and intensity here, without a sense of weight; deft acidity offers a sense of lift and freshness. This is a beautiful and complex Vaucrains and exciting wine in the making, with a sensational interplay of pure, ripe fruit and savory minerality. While one could enjoy this now, it has the structure and balance to age harmoniously for years. John McIlwain
The 2016 Faiveley Clos de Bèze already offers a dazzling array of dark and red fruits, wild berries, pure cherry, and turned earth on the nose. The concentrated palate offers spicy cherry and plum flavors with notes of game, mustard seed, and black tea over a layered and dense mineral core of impressive length and complexity giving way to a long, detailed, stony finish. This will take the better part of a decade to integrate all of its elements, but should provide rewarding drinking for the patient. Excellent Clos de Bèze. John McIlwain
From 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The low yields and small berries of 2016 really show in this dense and well-structured Gevrey. The aromas are elegant and deep with chalky black raspberry and black cherry, the palate is dense and concentatrated with fabulous length of black fruits and minerals, Carafe many hours in advance if drinking now, best to cellar five years and drink until 2035+. This will be a superb mature Gevrey and is highly recommended.
Jane et Sylvain have a superb, tiny parcel of Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny," high up in the southwest corner, separated from Grand Cru Ruchottes by a dirt track, certified organic. We have 36 btls of Fonteny for the vintage - given the structure of the "regular" Gevrey from Jane et Sylvain, the Fonteny will benefit from ten years in the cellar and should become a profound wine when mature. In January of 2014, I tasted the 2002 Fonteny in the cellar with Jane and Sylvain.Their eldest son was born in 2002, so they saved a bunch for him, but were generous enough to share one with my father and me. It was transcendental - what I refer to as my "religious experience" with red Burgundy, and possibly one of the most memorable wines I've ever tasted. Flowers, stones, dried fruit, the subtle touch of tannin...truly a blissful experience. Jane says the wine has "la finesse du Ruchottes," referring to the Grand Cru vineyard that is literally feet away from the edge of their vines. Eben Lillie
Jane and Sylvain have done it again! Another beautiful Passetoutgrain, in 2017 from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay, grown in and around Gevrey-Chambertin, organically farmed and quite delicious! The 2017 shows a deep black/red color and very perfumed aromas of black raspberry and strawberry liqueur with earth and violets. The palate is ripe and bright with deep morello cherry and blackberry, quite sapid and round. Really a refreshing and delicious wine, perfect for picnics and barbecues, served quite cool. This is a fantastic value and highly recommended.
Like the rest of the lineup, the 2016 Clos de la Roche from Lignier-Michelot is a wine of nearly startling intensity and purity. The nose is redolent of spicy red fruits, violets and roses, and earthy game aromas with layer after layer of soil notes. The perfectly ripe palate is a mélange of sweet, ripe, pure fruit dancing above a deeply-pitched mineral core of fantastically articulate detail. I love the balance of shimmering energy and mineral intensity here that carries through on the long, sophisticated, rising finish. This has great class and will benefit from 10-12 years in the cellar and beyond. A truly beautiful Clos de la Roche! John McIlwain
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." Stephane Magnien is a longtime Chambers favorite. The 2017 "Aux Petites Noix" has a dark ruby robe. The nose is a touch reserved at first; with an hour in the glass, aromas of black fruits, Lapsang Suchong, mustard seed, and game emerge, with a pleasing cool herbal note lending lift. The palate is mid-weight and fairly concentrated for the vintage—blackberry syrup, dark loamy soil, game, and iron dance around savory mineral core girded by ripe, though somewhat firm tannins. This has good sap and there’s enough sophistication and supple fruit for this to be a pleasure with air (and it is a pleasure), but there’s enough structure, balance, and nascent complexity to warrant 7-10 years of cellaring so that the elements knit. That said, this is just cracking with braised duck legs and olives over grits, and mustard greens. This is a lovely bottle for earthy, soulful fare and well worth the tariff. John McIlwain
Situated to the west of Grand Cru "Clos de la Roche," this steep and stony parcel has very thin topsoil over the limestone, with vines from 15 to 75 years-old. The 2017 has a dark ruby robe. Aromas of black fruit, spice box, bramble and sauvage grace the nose with notes of forest floor and a touch of oak. The mid-weight palate offers ripe plum and blackberry fruit flavors, with a crosscurrent of brambly herbaceousness. Nice framing mineral saltiness and ripe tannins, good vibrant acidity. This is vivacious and confidently Morey in character with plenty of charm and enough earthy gravitas to keep things honest. This displays the 2017 charm but with plenty of terroir expression. A delicious Les Monts-Luisants with plenty of upside for cellaring in the mid-term. John McIlwain
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey. Ruby robe. The nose offers an intriguing contrast between floral aromas and gamy, sauvage notes. For every rose petal, there’s a contrasting earth tone. The tension is compelling. On the palate ripe cherry and raspberry flavors are underlain by a pungent stoniness on a mid-weight, faintly tannic, but fresh, finish. This is delicious, if brambly, now but should gain in suavity with time in the bottle. I’d choose to pair this with something autumnal and savory. Pigéon? Pintade? Daube? John McIlwain
What a difference 2 kilometers makes! Bruno Dangin's Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines in Molesme, located just beneath the southern border of Champagne's Aube.The limestone rich soils are the same as those of their pricier neighbor to the north. Boasting a fine bead and soft mousse and aromas of red fruits and autolyse, one would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The palate offers great depth, pure pinot fruit, and a suave, layered, persistent finish. This is a great value in bubbles and will grace the holiday table nicely. John McIlwain
Julien Guillot at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this Macon Rouge from 20 different old Gamays, including Gamays "teinturiers" with thick skins and dark juice, with no added SO2. The 2017 shows a deep red color with aromas of blackberry, tart cherry, srawberry, black pepper, roast meat, fennel, citrus peel, violet... The palate is lean and elegant with citrusy black fruits, earth and mineral flavors, chalky and long. "This wine is indestructible" says Julien, and it's obviously built to last. Serve with a farm chicken in sauce, and decant or open in advance, but best to cellar for five or ten years. David Lillie
This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. Although this is always a light, delicate wine, the 2018 weighs in at a whopping 12% alcohol! The color is a lovely and bright red/black; the aromas are ripe and floral with violet, ripe black-cherry and a melange of lush berries. The palate is light but loaded with ripe, pure berry fruit backed by citrusy acids. This is a gorgeous wine that should gain complexity with time, perhaps three to five years (or more?) but it's much too delicious right now to consider cellaring. Zero added SO2.
Made from massale-selection Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone/clay parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified Biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2017s here are lovely, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, raspberry, earth, stone and musk with hints of mint and spice. The palate is bright and sappy, beautifully balanced with black raspberry, tart strawberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long finish with chalky red fruits and refreshing acidity. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2017 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL